Export Market Guide - Russia

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All regulatory information for exporting wine goods to Russia including the regulatory environment, duties and taxes, and permitted additives.

Russia entered into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia on 1 January 2015 following the implementation of the Unified Customs Code in 2010. The Union creates a common market for goods, services, capital and labour.  Kyrgyzstan is set to join the union once its accession treaty is ratified.

Russia became a fully-fledged WTO member on 22 August 2012, culminating Russia’s 18-year effort to join the multilateral trading system. Russia is a member of the G20 and APEC and is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Russia’s accession to the OECD has been postponed by the Council.

The information in this guide has mostly been obtained from secondary sources. Caution should be taken when using this guide and it is advisable to seek further information. 

Over recent years there has been a decrease of imported wines from Eastern Europe and an increase of imports from traditional Europe as well as wines from South Africa and Chile. Georgia, Ukraine (Crimea), Germany, Moldova and Australia make up the rest of the import share, albeit in smaller volumes. More recently, alcohol imports in Russia declined sharply due to a lack of excise stamps. Russian law requires all alcohol imports to have a stamp so that they can be properly taxed. The State Duma called for the old excise stamps to be replaced by a new model last year, but no company has yet been given the contract to create the new version. Foreign companies are continuing to purchase the old excise stamps, but supplies are running low after production was halted in anticipation of the new model. Problems in obtaining stamps have already resulted in a sharp decline in imports, with some companies suspending deliveries completely.

There is still a significant shortage in quality imported wines and the on-trade market in Russia remains underdeveloped, with limited growth of the restaurant and bar culture outside of Moscow and St Petersburg, and consumers are generally offered only a restricted choice of overpriced brands. 

Barriers to entry include strict and ever-changing rules and low education of Australian wines within the market. The complicated import regulations and certification requirements are expensive and time consuming.

The Russian government banned advertising on internet, hard media and outdoor advertising for all alcoholic beverages in January 2013 in an effort to curb dangerous drinking. This may further limit the capacity to grow future brands in Russia.

The government is set to introduce minimum prices for wine in 2015 in an attempt to support the local wine industry and to tackle the growing counterfeit products in the Russian wine market.

Regulatory environment

Imports are regulated by the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rostekhregulirovaniye), the Federal Service for the Protection of Consumer Rights and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor) and the Federal Customs Service (FTS).

In 2011 the Customs Union began work on the unification of technical regulations (TR). There are a vast number of acts; TRs, and national standards for alcohol. The main legislation covering alcohol include TR TS 021/2011 On Food Safety; TR TS 022/2011 On Food Products in Terms of Labelling; TR TS 029/2012 Safety Requirements for Food Additives, Flavours and Technological Aids.

Other laws include Federal Law No. 171-FZ 1995 On State Regulation of The Production and Handling of Ethyl Alcohol, Spirits, and Products Containing Alcohol; GOST 32061-2013 Wine Products, Packaging, Labelling, Transportation and Storage; GOST R 55242-2012 Wines of Protected GIs and Protected Names of Origin; GOST 32715-2014 Liqueur Wines, Liqueur Wines of Protected GIs and Protected Names of Origin. The TR on Safety of Alcohol Products has been finalised and is now pending approval.

Import procedures for the Russian market

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Duties and taxes for the Russian market

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Labelling requirements for the Russian market

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Wine standards for the Russian market

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